FIVE IMPORTANT DOUBTS ABOUT EKADASI FASTING! MUST BE READ!
(1) Can we take medicines during Ekadasi fasts?
“Hare Krishna Please accept my humble obeisance. Can u please tell me if we can take medicine during ekadashi fasts. Hare Krishna”
It is my view: Yes, we can take.
First, I like to state that I am not a conservative devotee who rejects everything without considering the genuine needs of the devotees in different situations of life.
In that aspect, I support taking medicines during ekadasis. However, those who need to take medicines should AVOID NIRJALA EKADASI because the meaning of Nirjala ekadasi itself is avoiding everything including water. Such persons should observe partial fast even during Nirjala ekadasi. So, you can take medicines on nirjala ekadasi itself as you are following only partial fast.
During other ekadasis, you can take medicines.
Why I support taking medicines during ekadasis? Won’t they contain any material prohibited for ekadasi?
Of course, may be. But, BLIND FOLLOWERS will forget an important aspect.
Why we are advised to avoid certain foods during ekadasi?
(1) To satisfy Lord by sacreficing certain things that we are attached with.
(2) To regulate our senses by regulating food atleast for two days a month.
This means, we should not take anything to satisfy our tongue. We should not enjoy the taste.
Now, tell me, do the tablets and syrups are taken to satisfy our tongue?
No. They are taken to keep our ailing body normal.
Thus, we can follow fast still better. We need not cry with body pains or ailments during ekadasi that makes us to think only about body ailments, not Krishna.
So, if we take tablet/ tonic/ syrup only if advised by the doctors, we can follow fasting still comfortably.
If you have severe head ache, you can’t do anything and you can’t think of God.
So, take medicines as advised by your doctor even on ekadasi. And follow all other rules.
Do not bother what your conservative fellow devotee will think.
Lord is very merciful. He understands us better than anyone else.
Those having some remarkable ailments such as issues in heart, kidneys, lever, lungs, belly, blood, etc, NEED NOT FAST AT ALL. If they like to fast, they may observe partial fasting by taking everything except grains.
I have given suggestions above to take medicines for AILMENTS ONLY. If you regularly take Vitamin tablets, beauty tablets, protein malts, Horlicks, etc., etc., they are not allowed during ekadasi. Medicines can be allowed during ekadasis only for ailments. Not for beauty care.
(2) I feel giddiness when I fast for Ekadasi. What to do?
“Hare krishna prabhuji, I am a pure krishna devotee, i m keeping ekadashi fast frm last 2yrs n frm last few months i feel dizziness i hv done with my body chk up also doctor told me not to keep fast as dizziness is caused coz of keeping fast but i cnt stop keeping ekadashi fast, is der any alternate or wt shud i do?? Can u advice me on this??”
First check up your Sugar and B.P. If you have abnormalities, don’t follow total fast. Instead observe partial fast.
I have already said that there are rules in Krishna Consciousness. But, acharyas like Srila Prabhupada have mercifully simplified them considering the present life style in kaliyuga that is working hard to live. For example, Srila Prabhupada wanted to fix 64 rounds of chanting a day initially. But, considering today’s trend and request of devotees, he fixed 16 rounds as minimum.
Similarly, I have read that ONLY TOTAL FASTING is the actual Ekadasi Fast. However, Srila Prabhupada gave some relaxations and allowed devotees to take fruits, vegetables, milk, water, etc, because, he knew that the devotees were preaching hard and hence they needed energy to undertake the orders of their guru. So, to help them, Srila Prabhupada allowed some relaxations.
However, even in vedic period, elders above 80, children, those having remarkable body ailments were exempted from observing Ekadasi fast and they will get the benefit of fasting even if they chant well on Ekadasi without observing fast.
So, if you have to work hard, stop total fasting. Because, as you have body problems and feel giddiness, you may fall down while travelling that is risky one. Instead, follow Partial Fast in which you will avoid grains alone. Take fruits, vegetables, milk, water, nuts on Ekadasi day. You can prepare so many dishes without grains. You can see them even in our Ekadasi posts.
Beware, don’t take this relaxation as granted and stop fasting though you are in good health.
If your health is alright, it is good to fast atleast partially.
Also read this: How to offer worship and prayers on Ekadasi?
(3) Should a Pregnant woman observe Nirjala fast?
“HareKrishna Prabhu ji, Please accept my humble obesiances. All Glories to Srila Prabhpada….i know its too soon to ask this but question but i am writing this as i know you have got plenty of mails to answer.. By Krishna’s mercy i am in 3rd month of my pregnancy and by the time janamashtmi came i would be in 8th month…So my question is- how to keep fast during pregnancy….since childhood , i have been keeping nirjala fast on janamashtmi and i don’t want to miss it……is there any way to keep the fast as i have to take medicines also…thanking you in anticipation……anupriya sharma chhabra.”
Actually, the elders above 75-80, devotees with diseases like Heart ailments, Sugar, cancer, asthma, etc, and Pregnant women are NOT REQUIRED to observe Nirjala fast. Because it will affect their health and that of baby in the womb, as you will be in your third trimester of your pregnancy.
The baby inside the womb requires regular food supply that is done through the food taken by the mother.. There is no other source for that baby to have food.
So, if you observe Nirjala fast, your baby will be disturbed and your body stability will also be affected. On Janmashtami, we usually take Prasadam after midnight. You can’t bear that.
So, for this year alone, take fruits, milk and water sufficiently and take tablets compulsorily atleast 3-4 times on Janmashtami. If you desire, avoid grains alone. Take vegetable soup, curry, fruits, water, etc. Keep your body healthy with the supply of nutrients for your baby.
Don’t fear that you are violating the recommendations. Krishna sees your heart only. He will definitely bless you though you take fruits, milk, water, etc.
He is very merciful. So, be comfortable to avoid Nirjala fast for Janmashtami.
Read this also: A-Z Tips on Ekadasi Fasting with practical considerations.
(4) Are girls prohibited from Ekadasi fasting except widows?
“Hare krishna….dandvat pranam prabhu ji… I read all your updates,.they are realy very nice… Prabhu ji, as we know tha Ekadasi ka vrat is very important for everyone to do and on ekadasi we can come more close to krsna and hamara govind ki seva kerni ki iccha bhi badti hai…
So once i told my friends(they are chanting) to do ekadasi…they agreed but next day they said that their parents are not allowing them to do because they asked a pandit ji and he told that only a widow can do ekadasi. But i dont think this is true… What should i do..? Plz guide me… Haribol…pamho”
They are absolutely wrong. Anyone can observe Ekadasi fast. I don’t know who is spreading such kind of things! That is why, there are so many false stories and theories about Krishna.
Your parents might have told like that with a parental love and care and to see you brisk always. They might have wished that you should remain healthy as you have so many responsibilities in life in future. However, anyone can observe Ekadasi fast.
Devotional practices meant for Krishna are common for all to cleanse us, ie, athma. Even a Chandala can follow them if he likes to do. Ekadasi fast is a kind of penance in kaliyuga as 100s of years of hard penances are not possible and not recommended in this kaliyuga, as the life time of people is short. If a devotee chants and fasts on Ekadasi, that is the sufficient penance in this yuga.
Chanting cleanses athma. Ekadasi fast is a kind of penance that also purifies our consciousness and enhances our dedication towards Krishna.
The athma is the same for both men and women. They have been given diffent kinds of bodies such as male body and female body JUST BECAUSE OF REPRODUCTION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE POPULATION OF THIS PLANET. If all are men or all are women, how can the population grow? So, there is a need for two kinds of bodies. Hence male and female bodies. But, these bodies are just vehicles of athma, we. You care for yourself, not for your vehicle. Ekadasi is also for you, not for your vehicle, ie, body.
So, don’t give ears for such wrong theories. I am 200% sure that anyone can observe Ekadasi. Only if a person is above 80 years, or has ailments like Sugar complaints, B.P, heart problems, cancer, asthma, etc, need not observe full fast.
Show this post to your friends and ask them to show to their family people. They will be clear.
(5) Can fasting be observed for Ekadasi by others when a woman in the family is in monthly periods?
“Sir, my wife going through her monthly period today, can I observe ekadasi tomorrow, pls advise me sir. Thank u.”
Why not? The other members of the family can observe fast if any women is in monthly periods. Just offer regular worship and offer food to Lord without grains immediately after taking bath (cooked and served by you, not your wife. She need not cook for 3 days for Krishna). Then, keep on fasting. Fasting is a penance for kaliyuga. So, you can observe fast. No problem.
However, if your wife likes to fast during monthly periods, she may be tired on those days and hence, she need not fast strictly, and she may take fruits, milk, water, grain-free food, vegetable soup, boiled groundnut, etc. No need for total fast for women during periods.